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the Golden Age of the laser hobby

Teslanium

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This is indeed the "Age of the Laser". Now you can get a whole assortment of colors for what my first 4mW red HeNe cost back around 1976.

BUT... back then the few laserists of the day and the people that made the things called "galvos" and other then-"secret" toys that turned laser beams into magical moving panoramas would not talk :tsk: to the fascinated kid that wanted to play too. So, :thinking: my first x-y scanners were derived from a pair of Pioneer car speakers with the cones cut out, a metal plate mounted across the frame, and first surface mirrors mounted in the middle of an assembly of two of those little nylon hobby aircraft hinges glued together, with one flap epoxied to the plate and the other to the voice coil dome.

Many years later I built a better X-Y scanner that used those miniature train motors. It was faster and made a larger display and wasn't nearly as clunky; eventually it was reduced to a small box fastened to the front of the workhorse HeNe.

Now you can buy lasers and projectors and parts and anything else you need off the shelf. And now most people recognize laser beams/spots when they see them, so no more stopping neighborhood traffic or pedestrians by shining the laser onto a wall (or the street). ;) And no, I never shined it at people or vehicles. I had SENSE even way back then.

Today, lasers still bring me much enjoyment even though I am no longer the mischievous teenager of yore... and they always will! More colors! More power! So much more to explore! :D

Golden Age of lasers indeed!

T.

R.
 
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I'd say the golden age is right about now, if regulations and laws keep heading in the same direction they've been.
 
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Yeah, not for nothing, but this time is pretty good as well. And, as far as kits and folks not "building" any more, there are those of us who are still scraping knuckles and wearing out files to make our beasts our own. Sure, the JAD kits and Sinner's hosts are great for simple assembly, but I still love the critical thinking skills involved in making something not out-of-the-box.

That, and all the color combos is amazing for those of us not dropping loads on multi-line tubes...which, I think is next for me.
 




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